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Ask about our $1 off discount per drink when using cash instead of high fee credit cards. No Cover on Fri & Sat. ESL leaders of GENTEfication in Boyle Heights... improvement from within & never without.... CHECK OUT OUR MERCH SECTION...Take the MTA Goldline till 2am on Fri/Sat... The Originals MorrisseyOKE 1st Thurs of every month....

ES YOUR BIRTHDAY!!! So Celebrate it properly by making reservations with us & get: Complementary Bottle de Champagne, Your Own Guest List, Top 10 MusicA Request List, & Un Mariachi Cancion Request... some restrictions apply so email us at for the details)


OPEN WED thru SAT 8pm till 2am

(some sundays tambien. check the CalendariO Section)

(Planning a Special Event outside of listed Biz Hours?... let us know... we can open during non Biz Hours tambien)





the MEN...

 FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHTS(all other nights are casual): FASHIONABLE ATTIRE A MUST,  "BLAZER/SPORTS COAT - DRESS SHIRT - TIE COMBINATION" WILL GET YOU TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE & INSIDE FOR FREE All Night Long. COLLARED DRESS SHIRT IS A MUST,(Dressy or Fashionable T-SHIRT under a   Blazer/Sports Coat is ok as long as the coat is not removed once inside), The following items are OK: Dressy Sweaters without a  collar, Jeans, Clean Tennis Shoes, Dressy Hats.

The following items are never ALLOWED for MEN: BAGGY PANTS, BAGGY T-SHIRTS, BAGGY DRESS SHIRTS(EVEN IF TUCKED IN), Plain White T-Shirts, Tank Tops, Sweat Pants, Sport Logos & Sport Caps(College or Pro), Flip Flop Sandals,...

Casual Clothing such as T-Shirts & Shorts(except as noted above) are acceptable all other Days & Nights except FRI/SAT.


the WOMEN...

FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHTS: FASHIONABLE ATTIRE A MUST,... you can wear whatever you want... you know what to do! Plus Mujeres in FREE & to front of line every Fri & Sat Night



No Valet at the momentO   


Other Parking:  [THE SMALLER PARKING LOT ON THE CORNER OF BAILY & PENNSYLVANIA IS FOR EASTSIDE LUV CUSTOMERS ONLY & IS AVAILABLE TO SELF PARK FOR FREE WITH VALIDATION ON ALL NIGHTS EXCEPT WHEN VALET SERVICE IS AVAILBLE (AS VALET USES THE LOT FOR VALET SERVICE ONLY)]. ALSO, there is Street Parking.  There is a secured pay parking lot at the end of the block on Bailey & Pennsylvania (White Memorial Hospital) and other lots on the corner of 1st & State St.  Some of our customers have reported that they have had success parking in these lots.  ESL has no agreements with the owners of these lots.

MTA Goldline Trains run till approx 2am on Fri & Sat. Click on the CUMMUNTY TAB on this site for a link to their schedule.  

Cash versus Credit Cards

Due to HIGH Credit Card Co fees we offer $1 OFF every drink by the glass IF you pay in CASH. ATM Machine availble. 



March 23/17
  • RIP Juanga Oke Sing Along
  • 08.00 pm to 02.00 am
  • FREEjoles$
  • We lost one of thee greatest Mexican entertainers JUAN GABRIEL! He brought so much passion to his music and we all luv'd him for it... admit it! Let's get together this Labor Day Sunday Sep 4th at 8pm to celebrate JUANGA by singing along to all of his tracks. Sign up and sing on stage and/or just sing where you stand.

    Happy Hour 8p-10p

  • See the full Calendar
June 05/16
  • Muñecas de la Noche Art Show with El Ponk
  • 06.00 pm to 10.00 pm
  • Muñecas De La Noche Art Show
    Opening Reception Sunday June 5th 6p - 10p curated by @barriodandy 
    Featuring Art Work by El Ponk @elponk 
    Paying homage to the curvaceous and overly sensual Mexican & Latin female entertainers from the 40's to the 70's. These woman of Cabaret and of the Cinema, were known as "Vedettes", "Rumberas", "Exoticas", "Ficheras" & "Bella's de Noche"

    Spinning All Vinyl - 
    50's/60's/70's Soul, R&B, Garage, Lounge, and RnR

    DJ Leeset @_leeset_
    (Beat Bait/Chills & Fever)

    DJ Miss T @vampmusicnart (Vamp Records Oakland, CA)

    Special Burlesque Performance by
    Charlotte La Belle Araignée @tikitarantula

  • See All Exhibitions
  • 2013-08-18
  • NEW YORK TIMES - Los Angeles Neighborhood Tries to Change, but Avoid the Pitfalls
  • LOS ANGELES — When Juan Romero was a boy in the 1980s, people talked about his neighborhood, Boyle Heights, as a place to escape. The area was besieged by gangs, public schools were struggling, and a vast majority of residents were barely above the poverty line.

    These days, the crime rate has plummeted. And while many residents in the largely immigrant neighborhood on the eastern edge of Los Angeles are still struggling to get by, there are signs of rapid change. Primera Taza, a coffee shop Mr. Romero opened, is one of them, evidence of what some local residents call gentefication, as more well-to-do and younger Mexican-Americans return to theneighborhood their parents fled.

    The transition has provided a jolt of energy and a transfusion of money, but it has also created friction with working-class residents here. And tensions over just whom this neighborhood belongs to are a clear sign that Latinos have come of age in Los Angeles, where they are expected to become the majority this year. The changes highlight strong class divisions that continue — or are even worsened — among immigrants.


    “We’re not trying to get out of the barrio, we’re trying to bring the barrio up,” said Marco Amador, who runs an Internet radio station out of a storefront he helped open in Boyle Heights last fall. It is just down the block from Mariachi Plaza, which for years has attracted musicians looking for jobs at weddings and quinceñeras — special 15th birthday celebrations.


    Boyle Heights has historically attracted immigrants from Eastern Europe, Russia, Japan and Mexico. In the 1960s, it became a hotbed of Chicano activism, and many of the colorful murals over dozens of walls are a vivid reminder of the era. For those moving back now, the idea that they are pushing others out is the source of much consternation.

    When Evonne Gallardo, the executive director of 

    Self Help Graphics


    , an arts group that has worked in the area for decades, began to hear about plans to officially designate part of the neighborhood as an arts district, she welcomed the idea. But when she heard complaints from longtime residents, she organized discussions with community activists that turned into debates about the potential pitfalls of change.

    “We all can think of examples of neighborhoods we don’t want to be,” Ms. Gallardo said. “But we don’t know exactly what we do want. It’s not just about staving off Starbucks, but how we keep the things that attract us to this neighborhood in the first place, where taco trucks were parked way before it was trendy.”


    Just up the block from Self Help Graphics is Mr. Romero’s coffee shop, its name meaning First Cup in Spanish, selling $4 lattes. Next door is Eastside Luv, a sleek bar that attracts younger patrons whom some call Chipsters, for Chicano hipsters. To many, these newer landmarks along First Street are clear signs of gentrification.

    To Guillermo Uribe, who opened the bar several years ago, it is something else: gentefication. These are people — in Spanish, gente — who enthusiastically talk about maintaining the area’s deep sense of Mexican-American history.

    Whatever the changes are called, poor renters here are likely to suffer, said Leonardo Vilchis, an organizer with  a tenant rights organization.


    “People want to pretend that their actions don’t have an impact on the people already living here, but when the prices go up, the poor have to go someplace else,” Mr. Vilchis said during a recent discussion at Self Help Graphics. “Coming back is emblematic of some kind of opportunism. We had children going to college two decades ago, but back then it wasn’t cool to live here.”

    Mr. Uribe and others see change as inevitable — and say that if they do not take advantage of the opportunities, somebody else will. For years, he wanted to open a bar that would appeal to people like him: native Angelenos and the children of Mexican immigrants who listened to performers like Morrissey as well as mariachis. Unable to find a place he could afford downtown, he jumped at the small spot in Boyle Heights. Now, hundreds pack the bar for karaoke nights that also feature songs from David Bowie, Juan Gabriel and Selena.


    “If we want to preserve the cultural integrity, the pride we have, the only shot we have is to do it ourselves,” he said. “My grandmother here covered everything in plastic because there wasn’t extra money to go buy another couch if one of us messed it up. That’s something we should celebrate now. I want to be amongst people who understand that and get it.”



    When he was a child in East Los Angeles, just outside official city limits, Mr. Uribe said, the implicit goal was always to move out to the suburbs. Now he sees customers with six-figure salaries looking for homes here.

    The residential real estate market has changed rapidly from boom to bust and now back to boom, said Maria Cabildo, the executive director of the East Los Angeles Community Corporation, which works to create low-price housing and helps first-time buyers in the area. These days, investors are making cash offers and quickly flipping homes for nearly double what they paid.

    “Regular old people can’t just get in and buy anymore,” Ms. Cabildo said. Still, a neighborhood native, she sees the benefit of more young college graduates moving into the area. Many of the corporation’s staff members are doing just that.

    “All over this city, people create these completely artificial spaces and call them communities, but we’ve had that here for the last 100 years,” she said. “It’s one of the few places in L.A. where you can go to the doctor, go to the bank, go to the pharmacy and get your groceries and stop at a bakery, just by walking around. It still has that sense of a pueblo. You say buenos días and buenas tardes to people on the street.”

    When several light-rail stations opened in the area several years ago, they were met with a mix of excitement and despair. Some people welcomed better access to public transit, a vast change for the neighborhood, separated from the rest of the city by the Los Angeles River. Others worried that it would create fertile ground for the kind of large housing developments created in Hollywood. Current plans to replace a block of low-slung apartments with high-rise condominiums and retail space have been met with fierce opposition.

    Mr. Romero opened Primera Taza four years ago, mostly to create the kind of place he wanted as a college student, when he drove miles from Boyle Heights to find a comfortable place to study. He has yet to make enough money to quit his full-time job working for the city. “We grew up always talking about being a part of something bigger,” he said one recent afternoon outside his shop, which replaced a traditional Americano with a cafe Chicano. “We’ve learned just how to create it for ourselves. Making it doesn’t mean moving out.”

    The stores along Cesar E. Chavez Avenue clearly cater to the immigrant working-class population of the neighborhood — there are discount clothing shops, small grocery stores and money wiring services. From the moment the popular taco restaurant Guisados opened in 2010, it stood out for its sparkling bright interior and clientele that often came from the west side of the city. Armando de La Torre, the owner, heard from critics right away, he said, with local passers-by asking him, “Can I come in if I’m not white?”

    “At first I thought it was funny, but now it’s becoming a little bothersome,” said Mr. De La Torre, who grew up in the suburbs east of Los Angeles. Like Mr. De La Torre, Alfred Fraijo was raised with the belief that the suburbs were synonymous with success. But when he became a partner in a large law firm, he bought a home in Boyle Heights. Now, he sees himself as a cheerleader for the neighborhood. “For my colleagues and peers, the flight to suburbia is not appealing,” Mr. Fraijo said. “We want access to the things that make city living attractive.” While others have fought against the creation of a large retail center, Mr. Fraijo champions it, arguing that it would stop people from traveling to the suburbs to shop. “It’s really easy to say no to things, but the harder question is how do we change things and empower people at the same time,” he said. “If we’re closed to outsiders, we’re going to be stuck in the past. If we can figure out how to say yes to development and history at the same time, we can really be a model for this city that hasn’t had one yet.”

  • 2012-11-16
  • Más Funky... LA TIMES

    The morning after a Subsuelo dance party, it may be hard to recall the precise moment when everybody in the room started moving to the beat as a single organism.

    It could have occurred while flamenco artist Cristina Lucio tapped out neo-baroque rhythms with her feet as she glided across the length of the bar-top. Or when a guest DJ threw down some bodacious tropical groove or cumbia/hip-hop mashup, and a pair of congueros and a trombone player popped up in the middle of the room and started jamming.

    But sooner or later, one way or another, Subsuelo parties have a way of luring every sentient being at the Eastside Luv bar in Boyle Heights into the musical mix. Shattering barriers — between English- and Spanish-language music, as well as between performer and patron — is the big idea behind Subsuelo (Spanish for "subsoil" or, colloquially, underground).

    "What we wanted to avoid, what I always want to avoid, is, 'We are the performers over here and you are the crowd over there,' and having that separation and having it be kind of a passive watching," says Canyon Cody, a.k.a. El Canyonazo, a DJ who co-curates Subsuelo with his fellow resident selector DJ Gozar every third Wednesday of the month. "And so we do a couple things here to try and kind of rupture that wall."

    One of those things was deciding to set Subsuelo at Eastside Luv, the amiable 6-year-old bar on 1st Street near the southeastern corner of Mariachi Plaza. Founded by Boyle Heights native Guillermo Uribe and his wife, Arlene, the narrow 1,200-square-foot space (capacity: 100) styles itself as a homey, nostalgic slice of la mexicanidad — note the Tijuana-bordello red wallpaper, vintage Mexican movie posters and chain-link chandeliers, custom-made with the muscled elegance of a lowrider car.

    But Eastside Luv also provides a funky all-purpose rumpus room for late-generation bicultural Angelenos who are as likely to listen to KCRW as to Los Tigres del Norte. Poetry readings, record-launch parties and live music are among the bar's regular attractions. No designer cocktails here, and nary a chip nor dip of bar food to be found; just beer, including Mexican and British imports, and California wine. Drinks are dispensed by a friendly crew that operates from a sunken galley behind the bar counter, which rises only a few inches above knee level, making it a de facto dance-floor extension.

    Growing up in L.A. as the son of Cuban immigrants, Cody says, he fell under the sway of the city's scrambled soundtrack. Later, when he began guest-DJ-ing, he was inspired by L.A. sonic mixologists like Afro Funke's Jeremy Sole. "He's really somebody we look up to as not only a DJ and a music curator but as a community organizer," Cody says of Sole.

    Last year, when Cody approached Eastside Luv about adding a monthly global bass dance party to its eclectic programming lineup, Uribe came on board. "We're similar in our vision of the neighborhood and trying to bring something of value to the neighborhood," Uribe says.

    Cody, who makes his home a few blocks from Eastside Luv, says the bar's contemporary spin on old-school Latino culture makes it an ideal locale for mixing flamenco and other traditional dance music with electronica, hip-hop, indie rock and every imaginable alt-Latin hybrid. That duality helps Subsuelo parties attract mixed-age as well as mixed-ethnic crowds (usually about 60% Latino, 40% everything else, Uribe reckons).

    Lucio, who recently returned from a trip to Seville, Spain, where she met with her flamenco teacher, compares her style of neo-flamenco to a jazz improv in which the musicians and the dancer take cues from each other and "everyone gets their spotlight."

    Similarly, she sees Subsuelo as "a collaboration of artists." "We're all important pieces of the puzzle," Lucio says.

    Subsuelo's fusion act will attempt a trial run at a new venue at 10 p.m. on Nov. 30, when it takes over El Cid, the medieval-Spanish-themed restaurant near Sunset Junction that's also the city's oldest flamenco joint. Subsuelo's next Eastside Luv date is 8 p.m. Tuesday, one night earlier than usual in deference to the Thanksgiving holiday.

    Photographer Farah Sosa, who specializes in music and night-life imagery and has been documenting Subsuelo parties from Day 1, ays that Subsuelo has carved out a unique space in a local dance-party scene that grows more crowded with each passing month.

    "There's a lot of surprises, and you never know exactly what is going to happen," she says. "But everything comes together in a very sweaty night full of community and a lot of music love."

  • 2012-02-21
  • LA WEEKLY: 10 Bars Most Likely to Get You Laid in L.A.
  • 8. Eastside Luv 

    Are Latins better in bed? Hard to generalize, of course, but there is something undeniably hot-blooded about the hombres. And us chicas? Where do we begin? A mostly Latino crowd frequents Eastside Luv wine y queso bar in Boyle Heights weeknights, and it's a destination bar on weekends, so it's a lively, diverse mix. The scene is simpatico no matter what the ethnic mix. Live burlesque performances take over the entire bar,  raising temps and bringing an interactive zest to the room, heightened by great dance music in between. Amore abounds, even if it's just for the night.
  • 2011-12-28
  • The cultural mashup dictionary: Gentefication
  • I first heard the term “gentefication” uttered a few years ago by the proprietor of Eastside Luv, a Boyle Heights wine bar that opened on First Street during the height of the real estate boom and rising fear of gentrification in the historic seat of Mexican American Los Angeles.

    At the time, locals were becoming worried (they still are) over encroaching development from the west, including the still-standing plans for an upscale redevelopment of the neighborhood’s vast Wyvernwood Gardens apartment complex. In the midst of this, Guillermo Uribe, a young Mexican  American investor with L.A. roots farther east, had taken over and renovated the former Metropolitan, a former mariachi bar across from Mariachi Plaza. At the time, the corner’s best view was of Gold Line construction.

    Some locals were worried about the new wine bar, too. Even as a Latino-owned business, was it a harbinger of higher rents? It has since become a popular gathering spot for a mostly second-generation crowd, many of them professionals with Eastside roots. In an email last week, after reconnecting with Uribe over a KPCC radio segment about Eastside Luv’s regularMorrisseyOke nights, he used the term again:

    “I’ve flipped the gentrification issue to GENTEfication…all better,” he wrote.

    Gente is, of course, Spanish for “people.” So I’ll offer my attempt at a definition here:

    gen·te·fi·ca·tion (hen-te-fi-kā-shun), noun: The process of upwardly mobile Latinos, typically second-generation and beyond, investing in and returning to the old neighborhood.

    The question remains as to whether Boyle Heights will truly gentrify, eventually attracting affluent non-Latino investors and residents who can pay higher rents in the wake of what has become a thriving Latino arts and entertainment scene. Perched on the edge of downtown, there’s a strong chance it might.  But for now, it still belongs to the gente.

    For the uninitiated, Multi-American’s cultural mashup dictionary is a collection of occasional entries, bits and pieces of the evolving lexicon of words, terms and phrases coined as immigrants and their descendants influence the English language, and it influences them.

    Entries have included informal coinages like Tweecanos, as used on Twitter, and Spanglish terms like Googlear and Twittear and Feisbuk. The series kicked off last spring with the etymology of the term 1.5 generation. Have suggestion for an entry? Feel free to post it below.

  • 2011-10-11
  • There are hip bars that try to be rec rooms and cool bars that try to be speakeasies, but the bar that replicates your real or imaginary abuela's living room and empowers locals to invest in their neighborhood is by far the most badass bar in L.A. That spectacular spot is Eastside Luv.The stuffed lounge chairs at the bar are covered in plastic (the fabric is by Pendleton, natch) and the back patio is open and waiting. The art is inspired by lowriders, masked Luchador wrestlers and historic Mexican cinema, a perfect mix of pride and kitsch. The high/low menu of beer and wine includes local micro-brews and, so the hipsters can keep up, Boone Farm Strawberry wine. Weeknights there is Spanish karaoke, aka MariachiOKE, and film screenings. Get on the Gold Line, head to Mariachi Plaza and settle in for a unique Los Angeles night. 1835 E. First St., Boyle Heights; (323)262-7443,

    —Rachael Narins

    page 146

  • 2011-02-01
  • Los Angeles Magazine - Hidden L.A.
  • It’s widely acknowledged that any L.A. bar sporting a sign just isn’t worth going to. Still, this unmarked wine and cheese (sorry, queso) bar in Boyle Heights looks especially unassuming from the outside.

    The room is dripping with red (velvet wallpaper, chandeliers) and often packed with locals who come to drink (this is not a swirl-and-sip joint) and gawk at the Chicano art and the burlesque dancers who take the stage on Saturdays. // 1835 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights, 323-262-7442.

  • 2009-07-24
  • LA WEEKLY - East of the 5: Spreading the Eastside Luv in Boyle Heights
  • Believe it or not, Echo Park and Silver Lake are not the Eastside. Gentrification has erroneously recalibrated the orientation of Los Angeles. The real Eastside lies past the 5 freeway and the L.A. River, where underground and established music venues thrive under the radar. This week, West Coast Sound goes eastward to investigate what lies on other side of the 5.

    It's not quite east of the 5 (just short by 0.2 miles), but there's no dispute that Boyle Heights' Eastside Luv embodies the Eastside vibe. The self-proclaimed wine y queso bar not only embraces its Eastside heritage with its decor, complete with chandeliers made out of Lowrider chain-steering wheels, vintage Chicano graphics, and couches upholstered in Dickies fabric, but also in its music. Artists and musicians from the largely under reported Boyle Heights galleries and theaters stop in to play sets ranging from punked-out folk songs to rock en español standards. Eastside Luv represents an antidote to gentrification, where a locally owned joint mixes upscale renovations with the old school spirit of a neighborhood. The distinct culture of Los Angeles is a hybrid between American and Mexican influence, and Eastside Luv effectively captures this musical and stylistic intersection. And yes, that's a stripper pole on the bar. For an even more authentic Boyle Heights musical excursion, stroll over to Mariachi Plaza just down the street where--on a good day--scores of sombrero-wearing musicians wait for gigs. 

    Like Mexico City's Plaza Garibaldi, Mariachi Plaza is like a market of musicians: just point to your favorite Mariachis, they jump in your car, and then prepare for jams at your party/event/living room. Mariachi Plaza has been slated to be a major stop on the much delayed Gold Line, so jackhammers may intermingle with the sounds from Jalisco, but it's worth a visit to soak up the flavor of Boyle Heights before it's Starbucked and sanitized. スーパーコピー時計人気 コピー時計人気 模造品時計 レプリカ時計 コピー時計 時計コピー人気 

  • 2009-07-12
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES MAGAZINE - Tastemakers Issue
  • click on MORE and/or LINKyaso BELOW 
    Scott Council


    Guillermo Uribe
    by Julian Stein 
    July 12, 2009
    Uribe has been addressing issues of identity since he was child. “My father’s friends would call me ‘pocho’ [a derisive term for an assimilated Mexican immigrant] because I wore Dickies and Dodger caps and used a hybrid of Spanish and English that I picked up in  the streets of East L.A.” It wasn’t until he turned 33, listening to the radio show Pocho Hour of Power with Lalo Alcaraz, that he came to a realization: “I should be proud of my new culture, as it was a result of my ancestors migrating to the U.S. to improve their lives.”

    Uribe conceived his club, Eastside Luv Wine Bar y Queso, as a space for Mexican-Americans to celebrate their culture, past and present. Built in the heart of Boyle Heights, where Uribe was born and raised, Eastside Luv deliberately erases stereotypes of seedy East L.A. nightlife with a wide variety of boutique Californian and South American vintners, hipster chic wallpaper made from old Mexican movie posters and low-rider-inspired “chain-deliers.”
    With the extension of the Metro Gold Line to Mariachi Plaza due for imminent completion, Uribe, who has a 20-year lease, is a step ahead of Hollywood developers. “Last week some guys came in here, we sat down, they enjoyed the sangria and they wanted to buy me out,” he says. “They were gonna put up a Barnes & Noble—they sure do their market research. I saw that a Starbucks just opened down the block, but I’m not going anywhere.”
    PERSONAL COMMENTS:  1. I have never owned a pair of Dickies & the only LA Dodger gear I've ever owned was the free helmet they gave me at a little league night. 2.  There is no Starbucks down the block, but a cool mom & pop coffee house called PRIMERA TASA.  3.  There should be no quotes because this was a long unrecorded conversation that was supposed to be an article,  but turned into a glorified photo caption... misquoted all over!  4.  Corp Media... all press is good press!  
    Guillermo Uribe
  • 2009-03-01
  • Eastside Luv


    There is no sign for this bordello-like bar,  but you’ll know you’ve arrived if you can see the red chandelier through the glass above the door. Red is a theme: It also shows up on the flocked wallpaper and the tin ceiling. A long wood bar and club chairs invite lounging. Saturday is burlesque night, and Sunday is open mic, when anything goes» 1835 E. 1st St., 323-262-7442 or

  • 2008-11-30
  • la times...Gold Line extension to L.A. Eastside stirs hopes, fears
  • Los Angeles Times

    Gold Line extension to L.A. Eastside stirs hopes, fears
    Some residents say they would welcome more upscale retailers. Others worry the character of the neighborhoods will change.
    By Hector Becerra
    November 30, 2008
    David Contreras sits alone in his rockabilly clothing shop in Boyle Heights. At first, he explains, he wanted an "atomic age" theme for his store, with Cadillac fins mounted on walls, stars on the ceiling -- sort of like a glamorous 1950s department store.
    But he figured that would scare people away in the working-class neighborhood he grew up in before moving away to New York and then Silver Lake. So he went with a tiki-bar look instead, thinking it would be warmer and humbler. Some people still freak out when they walk in, he said, raising his clenched hands and contorting his face as if to impersonate a doomed woman on a vintage horror movie poster. People still stumble into his store, wondering where Frank's TV repair shop went.
    "Everyone thinks we're gentrifying, but we don't want to gentrify. We just want to be a cool place for people to hang out," said Contreras, 49. "We're like the Neiman Marcus of Boyle Heights! Everyone likes glamour. What's wrong with that?"
    Contreras' store sits in an old, wedge-shaped brick building at Boyle Avenue and Whittier Boulevard, a crossroads of impending change on the Eastside. By next year, a new light rail line will be running a few blocks from his store -- the first foray of L.A.'s rail system into the eastern neighborhoods beyond downtown's skyscrapers.
    The Gold Line extension has long been hailed as a turning point for the predominantly Latino areas, "transit equity" for residents who heavily use mass transit but until now have had only one option: the bus.
    But as the opening of the line draws closer, there is growing angst about how it will change development patterns in Boyle Heights and East L.A.
    The construction of rail across Los Angeles over the last three decades has helped transform some neighborhoods. The area around the Red Line subway terminus in North Hollywood has become a hip arts and theater district with a growing skyline of loft and condo projects. The Red Line has also helped fuel the revival of Hollywood, with dense mixed-use developments popping up next to subway stations. The Blue Line helped foster downtown Long Beach's resurgence.
    But the Eastside is different. Residents there have much more ambivalent feelings about gentrification than the neighborhoods to the west and north. Some have high hopes for the Gold Line, expecting it to bring some of the better chain shops -- Borders, Trader Joe's -- that have avoided the Eastside. Others are more suspicious, fearing that an influx of money and outsiders will change the area's character and push out the poor.
    "I would love to have a yoga studio that's affordable," resident Sandra Martinez, 40, said with a half-guilty laugh. "The problem with a yoga studio is when that moves in, that's the end -- that's the definition of gentrification."
    Even before the Gold Line started nearing completion, there were growing signs of change.
    There's a controversial proposal to knock down the working-class 1930s Wyvernwood Garden Apartments to make room for mostly market-rate condominiums and retail space. Developers have also been talking about transforming the 14-story Art Deco Sears, Roebuck & Co. building into a complex of condos, retail space and restaurants.
    Experts said the addition of the light rail line, which will run from Union Station to East L.A., will accelerate development.
    Rail lines mean access, which is valuable, said Lisa Schweitzer, a professor in the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development. Rail also means a bump in property values, she said, with land around the line becoming "perpetually valuable."
    Some developments are already planned with the Gold Line. That, experts say, will in turn become a catalyst for more development -- though the toughening economy could temporarily slow that down. Then there's the fact that traffic is worsening in L.A. and people might want to move closer to the core of the city.
    "Naturally, these neighborhoods will be gentrified," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who represents much of the Eastside. "But they will be gentrified overnight if we allow developers to."
    Diversity long gone
    At various points, going back to the early 20th century, Jews, Russians, Italians, Japanese and Mexicans all called Boyle Heights and East L.A. home. The neighborhoods' more than half a dozen old cemeteries -- including the Serbian Cemetery on 3rd Street, along the Gold Line route -- speak to the long-gone diversity.
    By the 1960s, Boyle Heights and East L.A. had begun to cement themselves as the motherland for L.A.'s growing Mexican American community. The neighborhoods, always working-class, remained vibrant but became poorer with the infusion of immigrants.
    Although Boyle Heights and much of the Eastside have been pocked with gangs, crime has declined sharply for several years. The housing boom that hit many parts of Southern California -- before the bust -- arrived in these neighborhoods a bit later, but they remained largely affordable.
    Change didn't stop, though; it only happened at a slower pace than in places including Silver Lake and Echo Park, cultural cousins to the neighborhoods east of the L.A. River. In recent years, large housing projects along 1st Street in Boyle Heights have been converted into town houses, with a mix of market rate and affordable housing. And a popular wine bar opened at Mariachi Plaza, which is being renovated as part of the Gold Line project.
    East L.A.'s first Starbucks opened a few years ago.
    Diana Tarango, 73, remembers when neighbors on her East L.A. street included Germans and Japanese. A third-generation Mexican American, Tarango said she misses the diversity and thinks the Eastside has too many discount stores, flower shops and taco trucks.
    The Gold Line, Tarango said, will put the neighborhood on a fast track to change. "To me this is one of the best things that could happen to East L.A," she said.
    "Why do we have to go to Pasadena for a Borders? Don't give me second-class retail," she said. "Does everything have to be low-income? Why not build for people who can own homes now -- condos, town houses? Because when you own something, it becomes yours and you take pride in it."
    Tarango said that when she told her husband that maybe Trader Joe's could come to East L.A., he replied, "You would be the only one shopping there."
    "I don't think so," she said. "I think if you offer it to people, I think they would buy into it. But if you don't offer it, you're being complacent. I'm 73, but I'm not complacent."
    But Lydia Avila-Hernandez, 25, of Boyle Heights worries that for all the good the rail line will bring, it will also highlight differences between many Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans over issues that include affordable housing, street vending and even taco trucks.
    "Even my own friends I grew up with, I told one of them about the Gold Line and she said, 'That's good, then white people can come and make the neighborhood better,' " Avila-Hernandez said. "I told her, 'How could you say that? Just because they're Mexicanos doesn't mean they're bad.' "
    Avila-Hernandez said the Gold Line, beyond its mass transit benefits, could be a very good thing as long as the community is involved and has a voice. Otherwise, she said, it could get divisive -- even without the wholesale movement of people from other parts of L.A.
    Molina said it will be important that no matter what changes take place, there be "opportunities for people living there today."
    Whatever one calls it, change is necessary, she added. Molina said there's no reason that over time people in neighborhoods like Boyle Heights and East L.A. should not be able to partake of some of the things that people in places like Arcadia and Temple City do.
    "People don't like always going to the corner liquor store for food products," she said. "Everyone likes a Trader Joe's. But change and opportunities have to be incorporated within the framework of the community there today, families that have been there forever."
    Sandra Martinez can see both sides of the gentrification debate. A Salvadoran American who works for a health foundation, she was priced out of Echo Park. A real estate agent was able to find a duplex for her and her sister in Boyle Heights, next to the new County-USC Medical Center.
    Martinez quickly grew to like her new neighborhood, with its good eateries, which included not just Mexican restaurants but also a Salvadoran one and a Middle Eastern restaurant just a few blocks away.
    She discovered the new wine bar, Eastside Luv, at 1st and Boyle. The trendy, popular homegrown bar represents a kind of meeting of the past and possible future of Boyle Heights -- a place where young professionals socialize next to Mariachi Plaza with its for-hire musicians.
    Next to the wine bar, itself a reminder that what people call gentrification isn't always an outside thing, is an old-school cantina, where lonesome-looking immigrant men with 10-gallon hats can be found hunkered over beers.
    But though she liked some of the changes that happened in Echo Park, she found others unsavory and wouldn't want them to befall her newly adopted neighborhood. She cites the time a record store opened in her Echo Park neighborhood and she went in to look for some Latin music.
    "I was struck by the fact they didn't have any, and I thought to myself, 'That's just rude!' " Martinez recalled. "I thought, 'Where do you think you are?' "
    Becerra is a Times staff writer.


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  • 2008-08-03
  • L.A. Times Sunday Comics - Lalo Alcaraz
  • Los Angeles Times  

    Sunday Comics Section 

    L.A. CUCARACHA by Lalo Alcaraz 

  • 2008-07-01
  • New Angeles Magazine -The Hot Corner 1st & Bailey
  • ~ By JOSHUA LURIE ~ Boyle Heights is burgeoning thanks to the Metro Gold Line expansion. Outside businesspeople are taking a wait-and-see approach with the neighborhood, but not East L.A. natives like Guillermo Uribe. Uribe opened Eastside Luv Wine Bar y Queso to "have a spot that represents Chicanos in a creative way." The decor includes lowrider lounge chairs and custom "chaindeliers." Uribe offers boutique wines from California and Latin America, homemade sangria, plenty of queso (cheese) and the "cheladito" — Mexican beer mixed with lime, salt and chile. Uribe has big hopes for Boyle Heights, saying, "It could be our Chinatown or Little Tokyo." Julie Rebas debuted La Mano y El Corazón Café in February and found success with Metro workers thanks to her macrobiotic Mexican food made with "the hand and the heart." The house specialty pairs breaded chicken, ham and cheese with spicy spaghetti. Fresh juices include the Verde Via, a blend of lime, pear and pineapple that "helps with circulation of the blood." Juan Romero grew up a block from the corner and plans to   open Primera Taza coffeehouse this month, offering "quality coffee, one taza (cup) at a time." The logo is a mariachi kiosk, in tribute to nearby Mariachi Plaza. Not every dining option was inspired by the Gold Line expansion. Jose Rodriguez and wife Aurora opened La Serenata de Garibaldi in 1985. The upscale Mexican restaurant specializes in seasonal seafood dishes like Camarones Isla Mujeres, shrimp bathed in white wine cream sauce, named for a Mexican island. 

  • 2008-06-01
  • Tu Ciudad Magazine
  • Best   Nightlife Eastside Luv Wine Bar y QUEso Though officially in Boyle Heights, this cleverly named bar just east of Mariachi Plaza has become a fave haunt among Eastside hipsters. Vintage Mexican movie posters and Chicano art adorn the red-velvet walls, while El Chavo del 8 episodes are screened from a projector and DJs spin everything from eighties rock to old-school rancheras. If the live bands on  Fridays aren't enough to keep you entertained, the venue doubles on Satudays as a stage for "modern burlesque" performers. Also, try the Cheladito or the Sangre de  Maria, the bar's respective versions of the chelada and michelada

  • 2008-05-19
  • Boyle Heights Goes Upscale L.A. TIMES
  • Monday, May 19, 2008 BOYLE HEIGHTS GOES UPSCALE LA TIMES SATURDAY CALENDAR SECTION new wine bar, train station, high school -- can gentrification be far behind? By Agustin Gurza, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer May 17, 2008 On the surface, almost everything appears as it has for decades on East 1st Street in Boyle Heights, the neighborhood east of downtown known as a haven for immigrants and blue-collar families. It's mid-afternoon and a couple of tipsy men spill out of Las Palomas Bar, arms locked over their shoulders, heading toward the nearby birrieria, a restaurant specializing in goat stew. Others greet more soberly as they pass traditional mom-and-pop shops that line the thoroughfare, selling soccer trophies, mariachi outfits and secondhand clothes. The only obvious sign of impending change is the huge hole in the ground at the corner of Boyle Avenue, where the new Gold Line light-rail station will be. Nobody notices the pickup truck parked next to the construction wall or the man in a beret who unloads cardboard boxes and slips them into the side door of a corner building with no sign out front. His name is Guillermo Uribe and he's delivering a load of T-shirts emblazoned with the name of his new business, Eastside Luv, a wine bar for the barrio. Follow him and you will find the clues as to how this humble, hardscrabble neighborhood is being transformed by its residents. At night, the club founded by this one-time engineer and Boyle Heights homeboy will be packed with young Latino professionals, artists, musicians, politicians, teachers, curators and even a fellow engineer or two. In only a few months, it has become a cultural mecca in a neighborhood hungry for meccas of its own. "Right now, Eastside Luv is the only place to do Boyle Heights," says Fernando Cruz, a native son and regular customer. "It's the pioneer of night life in this neighborhood." A new nightclub may not be news for the rest of Los Angeles. But for Boyle Heights, it's like getting a slice of LA Live. For all its history, this community came up short of creating a cultural scene of its own, with clubs, cafes and art galleries that could nourish its artistic life. Aside from underground parties, the area's young people went elsewhere -- Pasadena, Alhambra, Santa Monica -- for a night on the town. "Why is it that we always have to leave the community to experience a legitimate night life?" asks Uribe, 37. "That's what led me back here, because there was a gap." The Gold Line extension, set to open next year, is paving the way for development in Boyle Heights and beyond. The musicians who mingle at mariachi plaza, across from Eastside Luv, might soon be sipping cappuccinos as retailers jockey for space in the new train station. Other interests have their eye on the site of the landmark Sears store farther south at Soto Street. Already under construction is a new high school and refurbished Hollenbeck police station. That's a total of $4 billion in current and projected plans, says Evangeline Ordaz, vice president of the East LA Community Corporation, a nonprofit serving low-income residents. The concern, of course, is that outside interests will squeeze out existing businesses, raise rents and forever change the neighborhood's deeply rooted character. "That's one of the things we would like to preserve," says Ordaz, who's also a playwright. "In the face of all this big development, our fear is that this sort of small business would get pushed out." To Uribe, that raises the specter of the dreaded 14-letter word - gentrification. "I don't want to be put under that umbrella, like some Hollywood guy coming in here with no idea about the culture or community," says Uribe, who owns the bar with his wife of 15 years, Arlene, also born and raised in Boyle Heights. "Maybe gentrification is going to take place. Who knows? But if it does, I think it's going to be by the children of Boyle Heights, people who are just proud to be back in the neighborhood." Three years ago Uribe left his job as a construction manager to start a nightclub. After his bid for a downtown location fell through -- "and I was just crushed" -- he found his current spot, formerly the Metropolitan. But it was a mess. Even with his do-it-yourself expertise, remodeling the 1940s cantina cost him $200,000, he says. The d�cor he calls "cholo chic." It's a mash-up of Tijuana brothel, Victorian sitting room and cool Hollywood rendezvous, squeezed into a long, narrow space of 1,200 square feet. The walls are covered with flocked wallpaper, the ceilings with decorative tin panels. The arched wine rack behind the bar, with its trestle-like storage spaces, evokes the bridges that span the nearby L.A. River. The custom chandeliers are made of stiffened chain link, evoking low-rider steering wheels. Many details have other cultural connections. The long, elevated bench is upholstered in black corduroy to simulate so-called wino house slippers, a gangster fashion favorite. And armchairs are wrapped in clear plastic, a tribute to abuelita's method of preserving the living room furniture. "It's all made to feel like you're in someone's house," the owner says. All except the chrome pole at the end of the sunken, 35-foot bar that doubles as a catwalk for the burlesque dancers who perform every Saturday. The pole is a clever disguise for the vent of a mop sink installed behind the bar, at the insistence of city inspectors. The bar first opened in late 2006 but was forced to close for code upgrades. It reopened late last year and recently started featuring live music, with singer-songwriter Lysa Flores performing every Friday. On a recent Thursday, the band was Lil Bastards, a rocking outfit featuring Raul Pacheo from Ozomatli and guitarist Quetzal Flores. The crowd was a who's who of the local Latino arts scene, including Reyes Rodriguez of Tropico de Nopal gallery; Pilar Tomkins, the Claremont museum curator; and David Reyes, author of the Chicano rock book "Land of a Thousand Dances." Customer Cruz came with his significant other, Conchita Sousa, who runs the cafe at her family's Olvera Street business, Casa de Sousa. Twice, Uribe recalls, customers have come back to Eastside Luv with their mothers, to show off the place. "I felt really honored," he says. "It's like they were saying, 'Look, Ma! Look what's happening in our community.' "

  • 2007-12-01
  • City Search -Editorial Review for Eastside Luv Wine Bar by Martha Burr
  • In Short  Just off historic Mariachi Plaza, this corner bar--formerly the popular 1940's Metropolitan Club--hosts an artsy and diverse downtown scene favored by artists, longtime residents, businessmen and politicians. A crimson glow washes over cushioned plastic-covered chairs at the sunken bar, while the wall of booths beneath red velvet wallpaper features vintage Mexican movie posters and contemporary Chicano art. A variety of live performances feature "mariachi-oke" to burlesque. Draft beers include Hoegarden, Fat Tire and Tecate, plus homemade sangria, and 25 wines by the glass.

  • 2007-10-16
  • metromix -Spotlight on: Eastside Luv Wine Bar Y Queso
  • Downtown's neighborhood wine bar gets a second chance to make a first impression By Tara Tyson, Special to Metromix October 16, 2007 If you had gone to Eastside Luv Wine Bar Y Queso in Boyle Heights during the last year for a little neighborhood action, you would have been bummed to find the four-month-old bar closed. Cerrado! What carrier pigeon shall we blame for this injustice? You know 'em,  but you can't fight 'em: City Hall. Only four months after its September 2006 opening, Eastside Luv�s owners, Guillermo and Arlene Uribe,  were informed that Eastside Luv had fallen into violation of the city�s grandfather laws. The consequence: mountains of paperwork and oodles of updates to comply with 21st-century codes. Eight months later, Eastside Luv has emerged triumphant, its doors unlocking the last weekend of September�exactly one year after the original opening�for a welcome-back party so packed that even the most flaca of flacas had trouble squeezing in. �We had really good momentum,� says Guillermo. �And we�re ready to continue where we left off.� Like any good sequel, the reincarnated Eastside Luv is doing just that, wining and dining artists, Hollywooders, and even city politicians, who often stop in after a hard day�s work issuing grandfather law citations. The weekly events remain as before: iPod Wednesdays, when patrons can bring in their iPods and �DJ� for twenty minutes; Friday night "mariachioke," when mariachis from the neighborhood accompany karaoke performances; and Saturday cabarets featuring scantily clad PYTs shaking what their mamas gave them. The bar also continues to spread the Luv for L.A.�s Chicano art scene by featuring monthly rotations of paintings by local artists and hosting community art events. D�cor: Hope you like the color red, because everything from the velvet wallpaper to the tabletops to the stools is red. <a href="">Exhibition tents</a> Drinks: There�s homemade sangria as well as �cheladito,� a Mexican beer concoction. You can also find wine from around the world and from our backyard: Eastside Luv has a partnership with L.A.�s San Antonio Winery. Insider�s tip: You�ll get no Luv without an ID. Even your 80-year-old nana will get carded at the door, and with the LAPD just down the street,  you better believe the IDs get a hard-core high-tech scan. So tell Nana no funny stuff this time. Stay tuned: Look for Slow Dance Sundays coming soon from 8 p.m.- 2 a.m., when all the jams will be mellow and you can make up for that senior prom you missed.

  • 2006-11-01
  • -Boyle Heights never tasted so good
  • Uptown girls, Downtown hipsters, wine novices and queso connoisseurs all feel the Luv at this funky spot. Don't judge a bar by its corner: From the outside, Eastside Luv appears to be a run-of-the-mill neighborhood dive on an unassuming block of Boyle Heights. But inside is red velvet wallpaper, Day of the Dead-inspired art and an open roof patio out back. Say "hi" to the nice doorman, pull up a cushy plastic-covered chair to the sunken bar, get a cigar from the wall machine, and check out the wine menu. (There's also homemade sangria.) Owner and East LA native Guillermo Uribe describes the crowd as "eclectic," saying the regulars are everyone from Chicano artists to young business types to city politicians. The bar features entertainment almost every night, including a cabaret show and Mariachioke, but let’s not forget the cheese: The "queso" menu is not only a delicious treat but an inside joke in a neighborhood where graffiti artists often sign off on their work with "y Qué," loosely translated to “And what (of it)?” A night at Eastside Luv just may be the answer.—Tara Tyson